Hello! This is the review of the subjects from week 43 of the 365 More People Pictures project. The blog is a few weeks behind realtime, but if you'd like to follow along daily, my Instagram username is @missellanea.
Day 294 - Jason
This was a pretty awesome meet-up and I can't wait for the next event! In attendance were around 200 photographers of all ages, all skill levels, and shooting with everything from their camera phones to set-ups that cost more than my car.
The Unipiper made an appearance and he filmed all of us for a promo video for the Goonies 30th Anniversary Celebration in Astoria. I loved that the Unipiper was filming us, as we where shooting him, filming us! Search the hashtag #PDXMeet and check out all the photos and videos.
Can you imagine a group of 200 touristy-looking people on a photowalk of downtown Portland? It was the best! I went not knowing anyone but the host, and left there having met dozens of people who I can't wait to see again soon. Jason is one of those people. I love his passion for photography and want to surround myself with others who are equally passionate about photography. Being around other obsessed people helps fuel the fire for your own passions/obsessions.
"Focusing on my photography," Jason answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Jason's recent act of kindness is that he carries around bottled water in his work truck to give to homeless people.
"To provide for my kids," Jason answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Jason something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, " I have a strong work ethic."
Thank you, Jason! Looking forward to hanging out with you again some day!
Day 295 - Rob
This is Rob. He and his son were impossible to miss as they were happily walking down the sidewalk, eating ice-cream on a warm evening and making memories together.
The happiest thing happening in Rob's life right now are his kids.
When I asked Rob if he's recently performed an act of kindness, he explained that he's in AA and he's of service to others in the program. He's able to give back what he's received in the program.
"To try to leave the world better, for me having existed," Rob answered, when I asked his life's purpose.
When I asked Rob something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "trying to be open minded at all times."
Thank you, Rob. The world is already a better place for you having existed, and keep up your excellent work and service.
Day 296 - Dessa
This is Dessa. The happiest thing happening in her life right now is dancing Tango. She was actually in a bit of a hurry when we met, as she was on her way to dance class.
When I asked if Dessa had recently performed an act of kindness or if she's on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she explained that she recently moved into a new place. Before moving, she found herself needing help and running out of options, she made a post on Facebook asking if anyone could help her move. She was so surprised and touched when a guy she hasn't seen since 8th grade, responded to her post that he could help her move. What a sweet friend!
"To bring healing to myself and others," Dessa answered, when I asked her life's purpose.
When I asked Dessa something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she first answered that it was Grad School. She thought for a moment and added, "maintaining a relationship with my father during a difficult time."
Thank you, Dessa.
Day 297 - Nathan
This is Nathan. He was waiting for someone on the street when we met. "Meditation," Nathan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Nathan added that the process of self examination or self discovery isn't always a happy one, but the outcome is.
You know how you get good vibes from certain people? Well, Nathan gives off good vibes, but more than that, he gives off a heavy vibe too. Heavy in a good way...like, it's time to get to work, or to get serious.
When I asked Nathan if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, Nathan explained that it happens all the time in the simple act of receiving a smile, acknowledgment or eye-contact from a stranger or in our everyday interactions with others. Nathan added that simply acknowledging people, or giving them a smile, is the scariest and bravest thing we can do, but it's also the kindest. It doesn't matter who the person is, it is amazing what we can do when we simply acknowledge another human being with a kind smile.
"Helping others help themselves," Nathan answered, when I asked his life's purpose. As if on cue, Nathan's client arrived and confirmed Nathan is actually living his life's purpose. Nathan is a personal trainer and his client explained that she has severe Scoliosis and could barely even move when she first started working with Nathan. With her hard work and determination, and Nathan's guidance, she's made so much progress that she just attended a yoga conference in Costa Rica!
When I asked Nathan something about himself which he would consider to be a success, his answer was completely aligned with his life's purpose. Nathan said, "helping people see the best in themselves."
Thank you for being you, Nathan.
Day 298 - Paul
This is Paul. We met in a crosswalk.
When I asked Paul the happiest thing happening in his life right now, I could tell by the look on his face that I had just caught him at a weird time. He didn't even have to answer. I've learned to recognize the I-can't-believe-you're-asking-me-this-question-when-things-are-so-messed-up look" in someone's eyes.
Paul explained that he's currently going through a separation. I empathize with Paul and this sad and turbulent time for him, but Paul managed to find a positive spin on his current circumstances. "Figuring out what's next," Paul answered, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
It's now happened a few times that I've met someone and asked them the "happiness" question at the most inopportune time imaginable. But, maybe my timing hasn't been completely off. It is my hope that if someone I've met in this project has been momentarily consumed by thoughts or worry, maybe our interaction presented them with enough pause that they've been able to shift their thinking enough to change their perception about whatever was troubling them. This question has been been deliberate, and if the question has helped even just one person feel a little better, or at least provide little relief from some stress that was bothering them, then this entire project has been worth the effort.
"I helped someone at work who was falling to pieces, and in return, they've helped me," Paul said, when I asked if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.
When I asked Paul his life's purpose, he said, "to figure that out."
"Patience," Paul answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.
Wishing you the best, Paul.
Day 299 - Layal
This is Layal. We met at Waterfront park.
When I asked Layal the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered that it was seeing her brother for the first time in 7 years. Layal left it at that, but I was curious if she traveled to visit him, or if he came to visit her. This opened the door for her to explain that she's from Yemen and only expected to come to Portland to visit her brother for just a short visit.
Since her arrival here in Portland, war has destroyed her city, the airport, and her family's home. Not only is she unable to fly back home because there is no longer an airport, but if she could make the flight back, she has no home to which she can return!
Layal's parents are still there but they're on the move every day, trying to escape air strikes. Her heart is aching for her country and her family, and she feels conflicted not knowing if it's alright to feel joy here where she's safe with her brother and experiencing our beautiful city. Right now, she's both grieving for her country and her family, but also planning to start a new life here.
Although Layal is sad and grieving, she's also filled with so much kindness and even happiness.
When I asked Layal if she had recently performed an act of kindness, or if she was on the receiving end of an act of kindness, she said she couldn't think of anything because she's just arrived here and really hasn't interacted with a lot of other people. Layal showed me great kindness in taking the time to let me take her picture and sharing a little of her story with me. (with us.)
"To be a good lawyer," Layal answered, when I asked her life's purpose. Layal is trying to make the best of her situation, and is now looking into her options for Law School here in the U.S.
"I speak my mind, and stand up for others," Layal answered, when I asked something about herself which she would consider to be a success. Layal's life and her experiences, as traumatic and tragic as they are, will give her insight and drive that others could never really create from nothing. Layal's pain will lead her to help others.
Thank you, Layal. Praying for you, your family and your Country.
Day 300 - Kelsey and Ashley
This is Kelsey (left) and Ashley (right.) We met in a hotel in downtown, Portland. They were part of the fleet in town for the Portland Rose Festival.
I was staying in the hotel downtown in order to be close to a Rose Festival event I was working for the weekend. I was so exhausted after working all day, I returned to my room and fell asleep. I accidentally slept for about 4 hours and when I woke up at close to 10:30 pm, I was in a panic when I realized I still needed to find a subject for the day. I quickly pulled myself together and headed out to go in search of a subject. The beauty of staying in a busy downtown hotel is that I didn't even have to go any farther than the elevator before meeting Kelsey, and when we arrived down in the lobby, Ashley was there waiting for her. I got lucky with two great subjects! Wow! If only it were always this easy to find subjects!
"Being in the Navy and my family supporting me, Kelsey said, is the happiest thing happening in her life right now.
I asked Ashley if she had recently performed an act of kindness or if she's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness. Ashley explained that she secretly gifted someone a coffee at B Street Coffee, from "Navy Girl."
"To make people's lives better...I want to do something to impact people's lives for the better," Kelsey answered, when I asked her life's purpose.
"When I'm scared about something, I'm really good at forcing myself to do it and face those fears," Ashley said, when I asked her something about herself which she would consider to be a success.
After I finished taking Ashley and Kelsey's picture and returned to my room, I was struck with the thought that I had just met three very strong women in the past two days. I had met a young woman whose home has been destroyed by war, but is persevering and still finding reasons to smile and be happy, and then the following day, I met two young women in the U.S. Navy. I'm inspired by the strength and determination of these three young women.
I consider myself extremely lucky to live in a Country in which I have the freedom to approach these women, learn a little about their lives and their story, and then share it with you. I was also struck with the thought that had I met Layal, Ashley and Kelsey on the same day, the four of us would have the freedom that we could have all sat down together in the park, coffee in hand, and enjoyed each others company as we talked and dreamed about our futures. Had the four of us met on the same time and under the right circumstances, we could have become friends.
Here's the summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:
- To provide for my kids.
- To try to leave the world a better, for me having existed.
- To bring healing to myself and others.
- Helping others help themselves.
- To figure that out.
- To be a good lawyer. I speak my mind, and stand up for others.
- To make people's lives better...I want to do something to impact people's lives for the better.